The campus recruitment process begins well before a company steps foot on campus. It takes meticulous planning and brainstorming to ensure that top-notch talent is acquired.
Once the hiring needs are laid out, a comprehensive plan is put in action to ensure the right student is drawn in, put them through the recruitment process and ensure that they are the right fit.
The entire campus recruitment process can be broken down into 3 parts
Candidate engagement methods
Companies have understood the importance of building a relationship early on. This means along with the final year students, freshmen and sophomores are also targeted.
i. Build candidate personas
A candidate persona is a semi-fictional representation of what your ideal candidate looks like. Creating personas are a crucial part of the hiring process and can help you identify the right candidate. Creating a candidate persona requires you to
- Conduct research
- Identify trends and
- Create persona stories
There are 3 benefits to creating a candidate persona. You can –
- Create relevant job descriptions increasing the application rate
- Comprehend the best channels to find the perfect candidate
- Align your sourcing strategies and hone in on top-notch talent
ii. Curate content for Social Media
As a company, you want to create an immortal impression on candidates.
Since the target audience is mostly Gen Z and some millennials, having a robust, active presence on social media is key because they spend no less than 3 hours every day on social media.
The other reason why social media is important is that 79% of job applicants leverage social media in their search.
So, how can you curate content for social media to attract the right candidate?
- Post creatives based on candidate personas
- Use trending hashtags and participate in conversations
- Allow your posts to reflect your company’s values
- Encourage crowd participation with giveaways and contests
iii. Create an attractive career page
Above all, you need an engaging and powerful career page. Once potential candidates hear about your company, according to LinkedIn’s research, 59% of candidates visit the company’s career page.
According to SmartRecruiters, here are 5 of the best-designed career pages:
After analyzing the top pages, here is the basic anatomy of a great career page
- Creative, concise company description
- Core company values
- Employee value proposition
- A happy team photo
- Office location and more photos
- Employee testimonials and quotes
- Career blog
- Company awards
- Hiring process
- Relevant job descriptions
- Application form
- Interactive video (optional but recommended)
iv. Launch a campus ambassador program
Nothing can beat having a spokesperson for your organization right at the campus in the form of a campus ambassador. Instead of generating buzz right before a campus drive, campus ambassadors can promote the company all year round.
The next step in the pre-campus phase is shortlisting colleges based on the following criteria:
- Organizational requirement
After creating relevant job descriptions, recruiters start looking at colleges and universities that offer courses that would equip students with the necessary skills
- Culture fitment
Recruiters can also look at the culture fitment of past hires to curate a list of colleges.
- Reputation and rankings of the college
A highly reputed college is far more likely to yield the perfect candidate. Recruiters rely on weighted rankings through multiple survey reports.
- Alumni history
Past graduates can be telling of the quality of the college especially if there are some notable alumni that have stood out.
- Existing relationships
Often recruiters have a network that can provide feedback on colleges or an existing relationship with colleges.
The location of the hiring team and the campus can also be a factor in determining whether a college should make the cut.
Planning the timeline for hiring
Planning is the only thing left after the list of colleges is ready. It involves identifying the optimal time to conduct the placement drive, keeping an eye out for competitors and building an efficient team
Find the right time to conduct a drive
Every company wants to be the first one on campus. For one, you want to have the opportunity to hire the best talent out of the entire lot and being first guarantees turn out in large numbers.
To ensure your company is among the first few on campus, nurture a relationship with the college. Peak hiring season is usually during the beginning of a semester. You want to avoid conducting a drive during examinations or because that can massively affect turn out.
You also would want to avoid campus visits shortly before or after the bigger company drives. Because
i) Candidates have this general tendency to join bigger companies and can ignore attending your drive in the name of preparations
ii) Once a big company conducts a drive, chances are many shortlisted candidates consider joining them over your company
Keep an eye out for your competitor
If a college has made it to your list, chances are it might have made it to your competitor’s list as well. Assess the steps they take to engage with students pre-campus and re-adjust your strategies and the dates for your drive if required.
Build an efficient team
The hiring team is solely responsible for screening candidates, assessing them and ensuring they are a perfect fit for your organization. They must share the company’s core values and understand the candidate personas so that they are able to streamline the hiring process.
Pre- Placement Talk
The pre-placement talk is where you get to officially introduce your company to candidates. The importance of getting this right cannot be stressed enough.
For students who have not been exposed to your brand through other channels, this is their window into your company, core values, environment, and work ethics. First impressions really count here. It can be the difference between attracting the best and brightest minds and encountering candidates that aren’t a good fit.
For students that have already engaged with your company on some level, this talk is the final touchpoint that can tip them in your favor.
While most companies touch upon the history of the company, work culture, projects, initiatives, and last year’s profits, this pre-placement talk is supposed to be an interactive session. This also means there have to be fewer slides on the company’s history and more points that highlight why a future employee would thrive there. This can be done by including the scope of growth, perks and benefits and work-life balance.
Here are some of the elements that define an exception pre-placement talk:
- Current projects that the company has undertaken
- Scope of growth for a potential employee
- Training programs offered to employees
- Perks and Benefits discussion
- Address the bond period, appraisal and functional switch
- Q&A session
Written Tests and GD
The written tests consist of questions designed to test relevant skills and knowledge – technical know-how, logical and analytical reasoning, command over the language. Designing the written test that carefully examines each aspect and can weed out candidates that aren’t the right fit is key.
One of the common rounds after candidates clear the written test is the group discussion. This is mainly to test communication skills but other skills like leadership, teamwork, initiative, critical thinking abilities can also be tested by exposing candidates to a wide variety of topics
The last part of the hiring process is the structured interview which is often broken into three rounds:
- General round
- Technical round
- HR round
Each round serves as a filter to remove candidates that do not meet the requirements. The general round usually involves questions that pertain to the student’s area of study followed by the technical round where the hiring team can do a deep dive into the candidate’s level of understanding of technical concepts.
The round with HR can serve as a way to assess if the candidate is a good culture fit.
Most companies stick to a structured interview or a semi-structured interview and for good reason. A structured interview standardizes the process of evaluating candidates which removes any bias from the process. But there are some other benefits to having a structured interview as well:
- Effective: A structured interview yields far more accurate information as 4 or more unstructured interviews which makes the hiring process efficient
- Fair: When evaluating students across different colleges, a structured interview proves to be more valuable to ensure the hiring process is transparent and fair
- Consistent: This type of interview leaves no room for arbitrary or irrelevant questions that might skew the results of an interview
- Legal protection: Structured interviews are also great from a legal standpoint as students cannot sue companies for discrimination during the hiring process
Job offer and Negotiation
All that is left after selecting the pool of candidates is to send out offer letters and open the doors to salary negotiations if there is the scope to do so. The offer letter is also a standardized letter that contains comprehensive information about the job, description and salary structure along with perks and benefits carefully laid out.
Once candidates accept a job offer, hiring managers start preparing for the onboarding process. This is make or break for the new hire and the company. Setting expectations, exposing them to the work culture and environment and identifying a growth trajectory is vital during the onboarding process.
Here’s what a typical onboarding process looks like:
- Send out emails that contain a list of documents that the employees need on their first day
- Map out their first week
- Have all the resources ready for them
- Prep the team to welcome the new hires
- Plan training sessions to bring them up to speed
- Assign a mentor
- Check-ins to see how the process is shaping up
- Feedback from new hires to better the next onboarding cycle
Apart from some of the obvious benefits of having an intricately designed onboarding process, it can also shorten the learning curve, boost productivity, make it easier for new hires to adjust and improve job satisfaction and employee retention rates.
A few other ways to make the whole onboarding process smoother and result-oriented for candidates are
- Goodies on the campus after getting shortlisted will initiate the process on a healthy note
- Schedule calls or Webinars between Team leads and the shortlisted candidates to walkthrough the exciting ongoing projects and interact with the team lead to get accustomed to their roles in the company
- Share company created resource materials with candidates to give them a glimpse of tech culture and set early expectations from the candidates
- Company offsite meets or fun trips to showcase company culture in front of the candidates and advantageous over their peers
Challenges for Recruiters
Some hiring processes have still not caught up with the latest technology or been adapted for the current generation which can result in some major challenges for recruiters during the campus recruitment process are
Finding the best fit among freshers
When hiring freshers, it is often hard to judge if the candidate is a quick learner and can adapt quickly to your organization. This is why building precise candidate personas and attracting the right candidate is important. The structured interview should also include questions that make it easy to determine if the candidate has what it takes to grow exponentially.
Creating a strong employer brand
Some companies may choose to ignore social media or running a campus ambassador program which is instrumental in creating a strong employer brand. Not only is social media and offline reach important, but making sure your company has an attractive career page also contributes to having a robust employer presence.
72.8% of employers struggle to find the right employee. The sheer amount of candidates that apply for a position can make it impossible to go through each application manually. Add to that the written and face to face rounds and what you have is an extremely inefficient process that requires a ton of manpower and hours.
Adopting a data-driven approach by integrating AI into the initial process and using a filter to weed out resumes can cut down on the hiring time significantly.
Some bias goes beyond the obvious and isn’t very apparent to the hiring managers. Bias can also creep in with an unstructured interview when candidates are subjected to different questions which can drastically change their performance. To avoid this, it is recommended to stick to a structured interview. Google’s hiring process also includes a structured interview that grades candidates on the same parameters that allow the company to make decisions based on quantifiable skills instead of relying on instinct.